He is an amazing bass player who has always dedicated his skills and talent for the benefit of the band. There is no doubt about his role in making the legendary ACCEPT successful. Peter Baltes was born on 4 April 1958 in Solingen, Germany. He started his music career when he was young and although he claims that he is not Billy Sheehan he was voted as the number one bass player in Burrn Magazine reader’s poll of 1985.
ACCEPT are heading towards the end of ‘The Rise of Chaos’ European tour and very soon they are going to bring their music to the land of metal, Finland. Peter shares his thoughts on playing there:
“Number one is the dedication of the fans, I mean Finland is a true, true metal country. It has true metal fans and it shows every time we play, we can feel this is like something special, this is something beyond you know. It’s just, you can feel it on stage and when you talk to the fans and people.
And everybody seems to know metal – even people in the hotel, people on the street. Metal is like a high standard in Finland, which is great.”
Whenever they were active, ACCEPT have always been on a high. Great quality of music and production on their albums, along with energetic and perfect performances on stage have always been true facts about them. But what makes ACCEPT work so well?
“I think there’s a couple of factors. One of them is the songwriting part, Wolf and I have been writing these songs for so many years and we have our little quirky ways how we do it, but what comes out in the end is somehow what defines Accept, from the songwriting part.
Also, our dedication to our craft and our work ethic – we really do strive for excellence. When we play on stage we want things perfect. And at the same time trying to achieve the human aspect – that we have fun and play, that it’s not so organised. So that’s difficult for us to do, but for some reason we’re doing this very very well.”
Not many bass players dare to play a solo on stage, but Peter Baltes has done, which has always received positive feed back from the crowd.
“Well we used to do a few bass solos a couple of tours back. It’s not really about the spotlight, it’s a variety for the fans. If you’re in the audience and you see a show, in the old days there used to be a guitar solo and a drum solo. A bass solo was a little unique, but it was something cool we could offer. We decided now it would be much cooler to have some sort of battle going on instead of play a bass solo – have a little guitar bass battle with Wolf going on, which I win every night (laughs), I’m just kidding.
I’m no Billy Sheehan, I’m not very technical. But most things I play come right outta my stomach, my gut and I’m always concerned about the rhythm of things. I see the faces of the people when I play and that’s pretty cool. Most of all, it’s just I prefer playing within the band.”
Those fans who followed the band from the beginning know that Peter also did some lead vocals on tracks such as ‘Primitive’ and ‘The King” and a few more. But would it be possible that he do it again in the future?
“Probably could in the future, but never had the opportunity at this point because Mark has such a great range and has a really nice clean voice. Which back in the day was the reason I started singing a couple of ballads because we wrote some and you know, I guess almost the band pointed at me and said ‘you try it’ because they knew I was singing a little bit, ’cause back then it made sense, it was kinda cool.
We have Mark now and he’s such an excellent singer, but who knows in the future? Maybe we do something together, I’m not opposed to it, no.”
You can listen to the whole of this interview on the Audio Player below and if you would like to win a pair of tickets for the ACCEPT shows in Finland, Peter said a secret code, fill the form with that code and you’ll have a chance to be one of our lucky winners.
Where to start with a THIN LIZZY legend! Drummer Brian Downey was a founding member of the legendary Irish rockers along with Phil Lynott, an integral part of that classic Lizzy sound with band throughout their career of twelve studio albums. Brian is now back with his new band – BRIAN DOWNEY’S ALIVE AND DANGEROUS.
Ahead of the band’s performance this weekend (Saturday 10th February) in London at Nell’s Jazz & Blues, I had a very interesting conversation with Brian about the band, their forthcoming show and the future, as well as other fascinating aspects of Brian‘s career, including THIN LIZZY and working with Phil Lynott, Gary Moore and Chris Tsangarides. Check out a few written excerpts and the full audio below:
Discussing the formation of BRIAN DOWNEY’S ALIVE AND DANGEROUS, Brian explained:
“The band was actually called The Low Riders at that time. I was actually invited down by Brian Grace our guitar player, he was playing that night. So I arrived down, I didn’t even intend to play, but they asked me to play when I got there and I got up and jammed for maybe about half an hour with the guys. And it was really an incredible experience because they knew the songs really well. It was really enjoyable to play onstage with the guys.
We got chatting about things and I didn’t really intend to ask them there and then to come on board, but over a few days I realised these were the guys I’d been looking for.”
Regarding the show in London, Brian stated:
“We also played there back in November. It really was two great nights because both nights were packed – a great atmosphere, lots of real Lizzy fans there, real Lizzy supporters as Phil Lynott used to say. So we’re really looking forward to going back there on the tenth (February).
The band is called Brian Downey’s Alive And Dangerous, we took the name obviously from Live And Dangerous, the live album, that’s forty years release this year. So we’re going to do most of the tracks off Live And Dangerous and there’s one or two other ones in there, little surprises for the fans. But generally it’s based on the Live And Dangerous album.”
Brian reflected on his THIN LIZZY days:
“It was an incredible time in my life, maybe the best time ever. When we started off, it was kinda hard, it took us a while to get a foothold in the music industry. We went to England and based ourselves in West Hampstead and luckily enough, Decca Records weren’t too far away. It was great to get signed up by Decca in the early seventies, it was a big label then.
It was a struggle for a few years and then suddenly we had a hit record on our hands with Whisky In The Jar. Decca were given the songs – one was Whisky In The Jar and the other was Black Boys On The Corner, which Phil had written as the A side. But when it went to Dick Rowe in Decca Records, he had a listen and decided to flip them around. We had a few issues about it and there was talk in the band, ‘why’s he doing this, he’s going to ruin our career!’ but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, he made the right decision and the song went into the charts. We got the Top of the Pops slot and that really put the band on the map and we never looked back since.”
It’s now been a year since Greek power metal giants FIREWIND released their 8th studio album “Immortals”. The band have had a busy hardworking year and joined German metal legends RAGE on their European “Seasons Of The Black” tour in early January. I caught up with guitar virtuoso Gus G. before their joint headliner show at the Corporation in Sheffield on 22nd January, where C.O.P. UK were also performing as special guests.
Gus is fast becoming my most interviewed artist and it’s always great to catch up with him on the road. This time around, we had a short video interview, discussing FIREWIND updates and the forthcoming solo album from Gus, as well as the increasingly familiar issue musicians face with lost or damaged instruments. There was also a few laughs as you will hear (apologies it’s louder from behind the camera!) and an interesting cat story! Henning Basse, Johan Nunez and Bob Katsionis were also there and there’s some input from them in the background at one or two stages. You can read a few excerpts and watch the full chat below:
Discussing how “Immortals” was received, Gus stated:
“Really good – we didn’t expect we were going to extend the tour so much. Actually when we first set out, we were only looking at doing that tour last year, tour about a month and play a couple of festivals and that’s it. And then you know, these offers started coming in. We were invited to go to Russia and now this Latin America tour and then Rage asked us to go out with them. So we’ve kept busy actually through the whole year.”
With Gus G in Sheffield 2018
Talking about the forthcoming solo album:
“I’m still a baby solo artist. I’m working on my third album now. I was surprised when I did my first solo album that I had offers to go out there and play, then I started thinking about all those things and developing my show.
It’s going good – it’s been a little bit stressful because there was touring in between and I had to make some decisions to change members and how I was gonna do it this time. I wasn’t sure about if I was gonna have any guests or not and then I decided not to have any guests, so it’s gonna be more of a power trio set up. It’s Dennis Ward, he’s gonna be handling vocals and bass and Will Hunt of Evanescence is playing drums on the record. It’s coming out in the spring.”
On the subject of missing instruments which happened to FIREWIND on this tour and other occasions, Gus explained his feelings:
“I think the airlines just need to get it together. When that happens to us, we’re always left in an airport wondering ‘OK, so now what?’ You really need to stay calm about it and hopefully people are going to be nice enough to help you out and track your gear and hopefully it’s not damaged. It is very frustrating, it’s happened to us quite a few times the last two or three years now.
Usually I’ll tweet about those things, I’ll call out the airlines, I don’t like to be that guy who bitches online – I’m usually a very positive guy about those things. But sometimes you have to go at them and hopefully somebody will be like ‘oh we messed up here, we better fix it.
It does have an effect on the show. Yesterday (21st January) we had a lot of delays, we had to cut our set short in the end and we were hoping to do it better with no soundchecks. At the end of the day it’s also rock ‘n’ roll and you have to just go in and do it. That’s the situation and you work with it and get it done.”
For all the updates on FIREWIND and the rest of the tour dates, check their official Facebook page here and the official website at this location.
It’s now moving swiftly towards fifty years since a band formed in Birmingham, who went on to become one of the biggest and most loved heavy metal acts on the planet! Now in 2018, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis are preparing to release the eighteenth JUDAS PRIEST studio album, “Firepower” on 9th March via Columbia Records.
I was very fortunate to be able to speak to legendary JUDAS PRIEST bass player Ian Hill about the new release and as gain as much information as I could in the short time available! We also discussed the forthcoming tour, festivals and more. You can read some excerpts from the interesting chat below and listen in full on the audio player:
We had to begin by talking about producing legend Chis Tsangarides who sadly passed away recently. Ian paid the following tribute and remembered working with Chris:
“The first time we worked with Chris, he was a tape op come engineer at Morgan Studios in London and he worked on our second album which was in 1975, he worked on Sad Wings. Of course, he was a fresh faced young lad back then you know.
He was full of life – he was a funny man as well, some of the things he used to come out with, you know. He’d put on some accent and just sit down in the middle of the studio and say ‘produce, produce’ and stuff like that. Brilliant bloke, brilliant bloke.
And of course obviously, he worked up in his own field and ended up being a producer and he did Painkiller, he worked on Painkiller with us, which was a big move for us because we’d been using Tom Allom up until then and at that point I think we’d sort of reached the end of the road with Tom you know, so we thought we’d use someone else and Chris had been doing a lot of new metal. So we thought we’d give him a go and see how he’d fit in after all these years – there’s quite a gap there, fifteen years or so and he was just the same (laughs), you know a bit older, a bit bigger, but he as just the same and he did a tremendous job as you know, Painkiller’s one of our landmark albums. And then after that, Rob left the band after that, when we took on Ripper, he did Jugulator as well you know.
We hadn’t seen him for a long time – you know what it’s like in this business, you’re in different places at different times, but it is sad and it is a great loss to metal in particular and music in general.”
On forthcoming album “Firepower” Ian was very enthusiastic!:
“You say it every time don’t you, ‘this is the best album we’ve ever done’, but it is! (laughs) Believe me it is. It’s something we’ve always tried to do in the band – to step forward with each album and try and make things better. So we can justify when we say this is the best album we’ve done ’cause it is, it’s absolutely tremendous.“
We went back to using producers on this album for the first time in a couple of albums. Tom Allom of course who we’ve known from all these years ago, it’s a name that crops up every time we think of using a producer you know. And Andy Sneap who’s been doing all the new metal, he’s well up with the new recording techniques. So, we decided to approach them both to see if they’d work together and fortunately for us they did and they got on like a house on fire.”
Ian Hill JUDAS PRIEST
Discussing the band recording the album by playing together in the studio, Ian expressed:
“Well funnily enough, you’d have thought Tom would’ve come up with that wouldn’t you, but it wasn’t, it was Andy. He wanted us to play as a band. When we started out, we were a bit wary about doing it like that you know. The trouble is when you’re doing it like that, you get your part right and somebody else hasn’t done it properly, so you have to do it again, so you’re there for ages – or you used to be at one time. But these days, you can always go back and do it yourself. And we loved it and I’ll tell you what, we played as a three or four piece and the backing vocal and walked into the control room to see what we’d done and it just sounded so real and fresh and awesome, you know what I mean? You weren’t playing to click track, you were playing it there together.
The little lifts and drops in tempo and of course everybody is there together and it just sounded so real. And we did the entire album like that you know.”
To give fans a brief insight into the tracks on “Firepower”, Ian stated:
“There’s a little bit of everything there – something we’ve been known for over the years is our versatility and there’s something there for everyone. There’s very very heavy stuff – one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever done, (pauses; I’ve forgotten the name of the bloody song!), ‘Lone Wolf’ and there’s production pieces, there’s ‘Rising From Ruins’, there’s ‘Traitors Gate’ and then there’s the softer songs as well. It really is a complete album and we’re all completely over the moon with it.”
Discussing touring, Ian spoke about dates in the UK and Europe:
“The only thing we’ve got in at the moment is Bloodstock. It’s early days for Europe yet, that’s August. We’re expecting more British dates to come in, whether that’ll be this leg of the tour or whether it’ll be at a later date.
We’re starting in America in spring, go through to early summer and then we’re going to Europe because there’s a lot of festivals. You’re playing to a wider audience which is great, which is why we love doing festivals.”
Regarding changes in the band and the effects from this, Ian expressed:
“KK’s been an immense part of the band since day one, so when he left it was a big hit. But the band is bigger than the sum total of its parts really you know, we needed to carry on – the rest of us had no intention of knocking it on the head. And along comes Richie, what a great find he’s been. He’s been an inspiration since he joined, he’s brought new life back to the band, come up with fresh ideas that we probably wouldn’t have thought of ourselves and he’s been a real asset.”
Answering the question of whether “Firepower” will be the last JUDAS PRIEST album, Ian revealed:
“Well, we’re not planning on this one being the last, put it like that. The whole idea behind, we were never gonna stop touring, we were just gonna try and get away from intensive touring, none of us are spring chickens any more. But that didn’t happen (laughs). If you’re gonna do a tour you know, you can’t say ‘we’ll play here and not there’. But we are loving it, that’s one of the reasons we do this, it’s because we love it and there’s no looking back now – we’ll just go till one of us drops I suppose!”
STEVE DI GIORGIO doesn’t need any longer introductions, as he is widely renowned as a pioneer on the fretless bass in heavy metal music, being the bassist of TESTAMENT, DEATH and SADUS, among others. Within his genre, STEVE DI GIORGIO is respected for his playing skills, versatility and incredible technique. He has more than 40 studio album recordings and over 20 years of touring the world.
On December 1st, Tarja Virmakari of Metal Shock Finland & Alpha Omega Management met Steve Di Giorgio at Live Music Club in Milan, where TESTAMENT gave a killer show on their “Brotherhood of The Snake” tour. Tarja and Steve spent a nice afternoon, having a long and pleasant chat, talking about the tour, of course, but also about life, music, gear, upcoming tours with Vader and Annihilator, ice hockey, his experiences in Finland and more. So please sit down, join the chat and enjoy! (Find the list of topics below)
(0:21) when asked about the “Brotherhood of The Snake” tour in Europe with Annihilator and Death Angel… (3:11) talking about Steve’s 3 nationalities, nature and animals… (8:53) what would Steve do if he wasn’t involved in music? (9:52) when did music became a great part of Steve’s life? (11:00) talking about his fretless basses, ESP, Ibanez and about his influences… (19:45) about signing the artist deal with Alpha Omega Management (23:27) Besides Testament, what other bands/projects Steve is currently involved in? (30:57) talking about upcoming tours in March/April with Vader and Annihilator (37:15) Christmas, Santa Claus and new Year’s resolutions (41:50) Chickens… yeah you read right, we talked also about chickens 😉 (44:27) Steve on Finland, Ice Hockey + his message to all the fans out there
Last month, Senior Manager Alison Booth presented a Halloween special on her weekly Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem radio show. One of the special guests featured was DIMMU BORGIR‘s Silenoz.
As well as discussing Halloween celebrations in Norway and what Silenoz gets up to, they also had a chat about what’s happening with the highly anticipated forthcoming DIMMU BORGIR album. The full chat can be heard on the audio player below and you can read what Silenoz said about the new album below. The full Halloween show can be heard on Mixcloud at this location.
“Everything is pretty much set to go and we’re still in the final stages of getting everything artwork-wise ready, photos, videos, stuff like that. So, things are taking a bit of a time – I guess after seven years, a little bit more waiting doesn’t hurt too much hopefully.
Yeah we feel we’re sitting on the best album we could possibly do at this time and personally I definitely think it’s our best album to date. Obviously that’s something that everybody says, but if I didn’t believe that we would do our best album, there wouldn’t really be any point doing a new one.
So yeah I’m really excited about it and I know that quite a few fans will be positively surprised. And yeah, we can’t wait to get this stuff off the ground and get going.”
When asked for an idea of when the album will be released, Silenoz revealed:
“Well I would say when we spoke last time I said something about around this time (laughs) or November 2017. But now, I think it’s gonna be the first half of 2018, the way it looks now. We’re lucky that Forces Of The Northern Night was something of a layover, I guess you can call it. We’re really happy about the response to that – there’s been great feedback all over, so we’re really happy about that too.”